October 20th, 2014

Timney Triggers Made with State-of-the-Art Automated Machinery

For years, Timney triggers have been popular drop-in upgrades for hunting rifles, rimfire rifles, and AR platform rifles. To meet the demand for its many trigger products, Timney Triggers has expanded its operation, adding state-of-the-art CNC machines and other high-end, automated equipment. A far cry from the dank gun factories of the 1950s and 1960s, Timney’s Arizona production center now resembles the squeaky-clean, ultra-modern facilities where electronics are assembled.

Today’s Timney factory is truly a miracle of computerized automation. Timney Triggers’ owner John Vehr states that it would take 60 or more trained machinists and metal-workers to produce as many triggers as can Timney’s modern machines. Timney does employ two dozen workers, but they are assigned tasks that the computerized machines can’t do as well or better.

If you want to see how Timney triggers are made this days, check out Tom McHale’s recent account of his visit to the Timney Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona. McHale explains how the triggers are designed and fabricated, and 20 high-rez photos illustrate the production process and machinery. If you have a passion for fabrication or machining, you’ll really enjoy McHale’s in-depth, 1600-word story.

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

CLICK HERE to read Timney Triggers Factory Tour Article by Tom McHale.

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.com.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing Post comment »
October 20th, 2014

Care and Feeding of the 50 BMG — A Look at Big Bore Shooting

A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’

Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson

Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.

50 BMG

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.

50 BMG

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Getting Started
FCSA 50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting AssociationSo how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
Permalink - Articles, Competition 12 Comments »
October 19th, 2014

Hornady Handgun Safe Opens with RFID Signal

RAPID Safe Handgun box RFID radio IdentificationImagine this — your “home security” handgun is stored safely and securely near your bedside. But with the simple swipe of a keyfob, card, or wristband, you have instant access to the gun. Sound like science fiction? Well, this is real. Hornady’s new RAPID Safe uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to allow instantaneous access to a firearm using either a special card, an RFID bracelet, or a special keyfob. In addition, the safe can be opened using a programmed keypad or a traditional key lock.

Brownells.com already has this new product in stock. Watch the video to see how the RAPID Safe works. The system runs with 110 volt AC power or internal battery pack. This short video shows various opening modes:

Open your safe in the blink of an eye. Simply place the included RFID bracelet, card, or key fob over the reader, and the RAPiD™ safe springs open to present your handgun.

RAPID Safe Handgun box RFID radio Identification

Permalink Handguns, New Product 1 Comment »
October 19th, 2014

Incoming! Video Shows “Target POV” of Rimfire Tracer Round

What would it be like to have a tracer round fly right past your eyeball? You’d never want to experience that in real life. But here’s an amazing short video that lets you see a “target-eye’s view” (POV) of an incoming tracer round. If you look carefully, you can actually see the bullet spinning (throwing off radial sparks) before it strikes the target.

Watch Incoming .22 LR Tracer Round:

YouTube shootist “22 Plinkster” placed a miniature video camera behind bullet-proof glass then fired a .22 LR tracer round right at the camera. With slo-mo playback, you can see the tracer leave the rifle barrel and fly directly at the camera, showing bright red sparks all the way. In this video, 22 Plinkster shoots a .22 LR tracer round at a camera protected by a layer of bulletproof glass. After the impact, there is a dark black crater left in the glass (lower photo).

Freeze Frame 1: Tracer Round Comin’ at You…
22 Plinkster tracer POV

Freeze Frame 2: Tracer Round Milli-Seconds from Impact
22 Plinkster tracer POV

Freeze Frame 3: Impact Crater on Bulletproof Glass Shielding Camera.
22 Plinkster tracer POV

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo Post comment »
October 19th, 2014

New American-Made Reproduction M1 Carbines

One of the CMP’s most popular competitions is the M1 Carbine Match. The little carbines are easy to hold and easy to shoot, with relatively low recoil compared to an M1 Garand or M1903 shooting the full-power .30-06 cartridge. Unfortunately, genuine GI-issue M1 Carbines are now hard to find at affordable prices. The CMP has announced: “CMP’S Carbine Inventory has been exhausted and we do not expect to receive any additional shipments.” Authentic, “all-original” M1 Carbines are going for $1500 to $1800.00 these days on Gunbroker.com.

CMP M1 Carbine Match at Western CMP Games
CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

New Production M1 Carbines
Thankfully, you can now get a brand new, American-made M1 Carbine clone for hundreds less than an old CMP rifle. MKS Supply is now offering American-made Inland Mfg. brand .30-Caliber M1 Carbines that look, feel, operate and shoot just like the originals.

CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

These made-in-the-USA, newly manufactured M1 Carbines are faithful copies of the original Inland Manufacturing carbines from the World War II era. (Inland was once a division of General Motors, but this is a new company with the same historic name.) They feature 1944-style peep sights and even include Arsenal cartouches on the stocks. All Inland M1 Carbine models come with a cloth sling and oiler resembling those given to GIs during WWII. MKS Supply will offer three (3) Inland M1 Carbine models:

    M1 1944 wood stocked original design without bayonet lug — MSRP $1049.00

    M1 1945 wood stocked original design with bayonet lug — MSRP $1049.00

    M1A1 Paratrooper original design with folding heavy wire buttstock — MSRP $1179.00

NOTE: The new Inland carbines are so precisely copied from the original specifications that the company marks the underside of the barrel and the inside of the stock of these current models to prevent potential fraudsters from passing these new carbines as mint WWII originals.

GunsAmerica.com reporters recently compared new Inland M1 Carbines side-by-side with original vintage M1 Carbines: “We had to get in close to tell the difference. Overall, the two examples we were able to handle looked great and held up when next to the originals. The stampings are even close to correct with a few minor differences that were chosen to stop the new Inlands from being mistaken for originals. Take a look at the photos and see for yourself.”

CLICK HERE for GunsAmerica Article.

CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

CMP M1 Carbine Matches — Growing in Popularity
The CMP M1 Carbine Match is part of the CMP Games program that already includes Garand, Springfield and Vintage Military Rifle Matches. “As-issued” U. S. Military M1 Carbines are fired over a 45-shot course of fire at 100 yards on either the old military “A” target (or the SR target, if A targets prove to be too difficult to obtain). The course includes 5 sighters and 10 shots for record prone slow fire in 15 minutes, a 10-shot rapid fire prone series in 60 seconds, a 10-shot rapid fire sitting series in 60 seconds and 10 shots slow fire standing in 10 minutes. An M1 Carbine Match was fired during the National Matches in the early 1950s, and now is back. As a CMP Games event, it also can now be conducted as a CMP-sanctioned competition.

CMP M-1 carbine games

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
October 19th, 2014

How Altitude and Air Pressure Influence Ballistics

Suunto AltimeterOne of our readers asked “What effect does altitude have on the flight of a bullet?” The simplistic answer is that, at higher altitudes, the air is thinner (lower density), so there is less drag on the bullet. This means that the amount of bullet drop is less at any given flight distance from the muzzle. Since the force of gravity is essentially constant on the earth’s surface (for practical purposes), the bullet’s downward acceleration doesn’t change, but a bullet launched at a higher altitude is able to fly slightly farther (in the thinner air) for every increment of downward movement. Effectively, the bullet behaves as if it has a higher ballistic coefficient.

Forum member Milanuk explains that the key factor is not altitude, but rather air pressure. Milanuk writes:

“In basic terms, as your altitude increases, the density of the air the bullet must travel through decreases, thereby reducing the drag on the bullet. Generally, the higher the altitude, the less the bullet will drop. For example, I shoot at a couple ranges here in the Pacific Northwest. Both are at 1000′ ASL or less. I’ll need about 29-30 MOA to get from 100 yard to 1000 yards with a Berger 155gr VLD @ 2960fps. By contrast, in Raton, NM, located at 6600′ ASL, I’ll only need about 24-25 MOA to do the same. That’s a significant difference.

Note that it is the barometric pressure that really matters, not simply the nominal altitude. The barometric pressure will indicate the reduced pressure from a higher altitude, but it will also show you the pressure changes as a front moves in, etc. which can play havoc w/ your calculated come-ups. Most altimeters are simply barometers that read in feet instead of inches of mercury.”

As Milanuk states, it is NOT altitude per se, but the LOCAL barometric pressure (sometimes called “station pressure”) that is key. The two atmospheric conditions that most effect bullet flight are air temperature, and barometric pressure. Normally, humidity has a negligible effect.

It’s important to remember that the barometric pressure reported on the radio (or internet) may be stated as a sea level equivalency. So in Denver (at 6,000 feet amsl), if the local pressure is 24″, the radio will report the barometric pressure to be 30″. If you do high altitude shooting at long range, bring along a Kestral, or remember to mentally correct the radio station’s pressure, by 1″ per 1,000 feet.”

You can do your own experimental calculations using JBM Online Ballistics (free to use). Here is an extreme example, with two printouts (generated with Point Blank software), one showing bullet trajectory at sea level (0′ altitude) and one at 20,000 feet. For demonstration sake, we assigned a low 0.2 BC to the bullet, with a velocity of 3000 fps.

Trajectory of Bullet fired at Sea Level

Trajectory of Bullet fired at 20,000 feet

if you want to learn more about all aspects of External Ballistics, ExteriorBallistics.com provides a variety of useful resources. In particular, on that site, Section 3.1 of the Sierra Manual is reprinted, covering Effects of Altitude and Atmospheric Pressure on bullet flight.

Permalink Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 18th, 2014

Video Introduction to Wind-Reading with Sniper’s Hide Boss

Frank Galli (aka “Lowlight”), the head honcho of Sniper’s Hide, has created a good 15-minute wind-reading video for the Scout web network. This video, a segment from the Sniper’s Hide Day One DVD, covers many of the important basics of wind reading. It’s a helpful introduction for those getting started in long-range rifle shooting.

Click Image to Go to Video Playback Page:
lowlight snipers hide wind reading video

Quote 1: “On the range, people describe the wind as the Great Equalizer. Next to your drop, drift from wind is the second most important consideration for the long range precision rifle shooter. Unlike drop, which is predictable, the wind is a constantly changing factor.”

Quote 2: “Wind is like water. It’s important to understand how terrain will effect the wind, how it will change the direction, velocity and consistency. It’s responsible for turbulence, it’s responsible for unseen changes that will throw our shot off. Wind will ebb and flow just like waves crashing on the beach. We need to understand the frequency and velocity of each wave.”

CLICK HERE to Watch Wind-Reading Video.

Permalink - Videos, Tactical 3 Comments »
October 18th, 2014

Set Up Your Own 10m Indoor Air Rifle Range

Air Rifle Range BackstopIn another month or two many Eastern and snow-belt shooting ranges halt operations for the winter. If you’re an avid rifleman who enjoys shooting regularly, the dark days of winter can bring withdrawal pains. The closure of outdoor ranges can mean months of forced inactivity… unless you have an all-weather indoor shooting solution.

Some clubs maintain their own indoor air rifle ranges where you can continue to shoot and train throughout the winter. If there are no such facilities nearby, Creedmoor Sports now offers a great solution for those who want to shoot indoors — even in your own basement or garage.

Creedmoor’s patented 10m Air Gun Range provides a target holder and a curtain-type backstop capable of stopping pellets with a muzzle velocity up to 600 fps. The target boxes can be positioned at various heights for prone, kneeling, and standing. Creedmoor says the hardened steel target boxes provide 100% containment for any pellet passing through the target.

The 10M Air Gun Range is available either in a 3-station configuration for $1514.00 (item 3AGR), or as a one-station (single-point) range for $325.00 (item AGR-SINGLE). Creedmoor’s Air Gun Range is a proven, heavy duty product — the only Air Rifle target system ever tested and approved by the U.S. Military. This system is currently being used in more than 600 schools nationwide, as well as the new CMP shooting facility in Alabama. The 3-station range easily dis-assembles for transport and storage, fitting inside a 34″ x 10″ x 8″ carry duffle.

curtain1401

The Portable Air Gun Range comes with a durable curtain/ backstop that sets up quickly and easily. The curtain provides ample stopping power for air pellets. However, this is NOT to be used with high-energy pneumatic hunting rifles (such as the .357 Benjamin Rogue) or rimfire or centerfire rounds. This is for standard airguns only. That could be a $100 Crosman, or a $3600.00 Model 9003 S2 Anschutz:

Air Rifle anschutz

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October 18th, 2014

Fun Gun for the Family? Try a Repro 1866 or 1873 Lever Gun

While devotees of this site are hard-core accuracy addicts, who normally shoot tiny groups with sophisticated Benchrest and Varmint rifles, we should not overlook the pure fun of shooting a simple rifle at reactive targets.

Uberti 1866 1873 Winchester lever gun

Nailing a nice, tight 1/4-moa group is very satisfying. But for pure unadulterated shooting fun, it’s hard to beat a slicked-up “race-ready”, Winchester-clone lever gun. In fact, this editor’s favorite rifle for “fun shooting” is my 20″ Uberti Model 1866 “Yellowboy” Lever gun. Shooting light-loaded 38 SPL rounds at steel targets from a standing position offers old-fashioned shooting satisfaction. On the “fun meter” this tops the scale. My rifle features a slicked-up action and lightened trigger. After a “CodyMatic” action job by cowboy gunsmith Cody Conagher, my Yellowboy’s lever can be cycled with just one finger. Trigger pull is about a pound and a quarter. The high-gloss, blued octagonal barrel is very accurate and the mirror-finish bore cleans up easily.

Uberti Winchester 1866 Yellowboy

Based on the Model 1866 Winchester, Uberti’s Yellowboy, and its Model 1873 “older brother”, feature a toggle-link action that is extremely smooth. The toggle action design also keeps the linkages separate from the chamber so the gun runs extremely clean. After firing a hundred rounds or more, all you need to do is wipe off the bolt and breech-face with some solvent and run a bore-snake down the bore a few times. To be honest, the Yellowboy is more fun to shoot at steel than my AR Carbine. And maintenance-wise, for every five minutes I spend maintaining the 1866, I’ll spend an hour detail-stripping and cleaning the AR. The shooting-to-cleaning ratio favors the lever gun by orders of magnitude.

Uberti Winchester 1866 Yellowboy

These Italian-made Winchester clones are very handsome, with nicely figured wood under a durable clearcoat. You can polish the brass receiver to keep it shiny, or leave it alone to develop an authentic, dulled patina. Uberti’s Model 1873 features a steel receiver with gorgeous color case-hardening.

Uberti Winchester 1873

After the fun factor, what’s the best thing about Uberti lever guns? Resale value. I can sell my 1866 for quite a bit more than I paid for it. Over the past decade, the price of Italian-made Uberti lever guns has been steadily rising. This means that older rifles fetch a premium on the used market.

Permalink Gear Review 1 Comment »
October 17th, 2014

Western CMP Games Gallery

This past week, the Western CMP Games have been underway in Phoenix, Arizona. (The Creedmoor Cup matches continue through Sunday, October 19.) The CMP has just released a large collection of photos from the 2014 Western Games. Here are some of our favorites. You’ll find over 1300 more images from this week’s activities online. CLICK HERE to view all the 2014 Western CMP Games photos, organized by day, October 10 through October 14.

CMP Western Games

M1 Carbine Match was very popular.
CMP Western Games

There was some shade for the Rimfire Sporter Match, at least during the prone stage.
CMP Western Games

CMP Western Games

Eye, Ear, and Cranial (Sun) Protection

CMP Western Games

Vintage Sniper Rifle Match competitors try to keep cool
CMP Western Games

A Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) was conducted on Friday, October 10.
CMP Western Games

Checking out the line-up of M1 Garands at the CMP Sales tent.
CMP Western Games

Two competitors sported vintage U.S. Marine Corps uniforms. Semper Fi!
CMP Western GamesCMP Western Games

CMP Western Games

DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson demonstrates use of sling in military rifle clinic.
CMP Western Games

CMP Western Games

Permalink Competition Post comment »
October 17th, 2014

Online Barrel Weight Calculator from Pac-Nor

Can you guess what your next barrel will weigh? In many competition disciplines, “making weight” is a serious concern when putting together a new match rifle. A Light Varmint short-range Benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 pounds including scope. An F-TR rifle is limited to 18 pounds, 2 oz. (8.25 kg) with bipod.

One of the heaviest items on most rifles is the barrel. If your barrel comes in much heavier than expected, it can boost the overall weight of the gun significantly. Then you may have to resort to cutting the barrel, or worse yet, re-barreling, to make weight for your class. In some cases, you can remove material from the stock to save weight, but if that’s not practical, the barrel will need to go on a diet. (As a last resort, you can try fitting a lighter scope.)

Is there a reliable way to predict, in advance, how much a finished barrel will weigh? The answer is “yes”. PAC-NOR Barreling of Brookings, Oregon has created a handy, web-based Barrel Weight Calculator. Just log on to Pac-Nor’s website and the calculator is free to use. Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is pretty sophisticated, with separate data fields for Shank Diameter, Barrel Length, Bore Diameter — even length and number of flutes. Punch in your numbers, and the Barrel Weight Calculator then automatically generates the weight for 16 different “standard” contours.

Calculator Handles Custom Contours
What about custom contours? Well the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator can handle those as well. The program allows input of eight different dimensional measurements taken along the barrel’s finished length, from breech to muzzle. You can use this “custom contour” feature when calculating the weight of another manufacturer’s barrel that doesn’t match any of Pac-Nor’s “standard” contours.

Smart Advice — Give Yourself Some Leeway
While Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is very precise (because barrel steel is quite uniform by volume), you will see some small variances in finished weight based on the final chambering process. The length of the threaded section (tenon) will vary from one action type to another. In addition, the size and shape of the chamber can make a difference in barrel weight, even with two barrels of the same nominal caliber. Even the type of crown can make a slight difference in overall weight. This means that the barrel your smith puts on your gun may end up slightly heavier or lighter than the Pac-Nor calculation. That’s not a fault of the program — it’s simply because the program isn’t set up to account for chamber volume or tenon length.

What does this mean? In practical terms — you should give yourself some “wiggle room” in your planned rifle build. Unless you’re able to shave weight from your stock, do NOT spec your gun at one or two ounces under max based on the Pac-Nor calculator output. That said, the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator is still a very helpful, important tool. When laying out the specs for a rifle in any weight-restricted class, you should always “run the numbers” through a weight calculator such as the one provided by Pac-Nor. This can avoid costly and frustrating problems down the road.

Caution: Same-Name Contours from Different Makers May Not be Exactly the Same
One final thing to remember when using the Barrel Weight Calculator is that not all “standard” contours are exactly the same, as produced by different barrel-makers. A Medium Palma contour from Pac-Nor may be slightly different dimensionally from a Krieger Medium Palma barrel. When using the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator to “spec out” the weight of a barrel from a different manufacturer, we recommend you get the exact dimensions from your barrel-maker. If these are different that Pac-Nor’s default dimensions, use the “custom contour” calculator fields to enter the true specs for your brand of barrel.

Credit Edlongrange for finding the Pac-Nor Calculator

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 17th, 2014

Big 3-Day Sale at Natchez Shooters Supplies

Natchez Shooters Supplies just announced a major 3-Day SALE on big name reloading gear. Prices on high-quality RCBS, Redding, Hornady, Lyman, and MEC products have been slashed. But this sale runs for three days only — the deals expire 10/19/2014. (NOTE: we are not sure if this means end of day 10/19 or if the deals expire at 11:59 pm on 10/18 — be forewarned).

If you are in need of a reloading press, electronic powder dispenser, or a vibratory tumbler, this is a great opportunity to save some serious coin. For example, the RCBS Chargemaster, which sells elsewhere for $340.00 – $375.00, is just $289.99. That price is way lower than we could find elsewhere. CLICK HERE for Natchez SALE

CLICK graphic below to see larger version with more products:
Natchez Sale RCBS Redding Hornady MEC dispenser scale

Sale tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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